President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday Iran is prepared, as before, to continue its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as long as the UN nuclear watchdog does not deviate from the legal frameworks and does not fall under Israeli and American influence.
“Iran is prepared to take the agency’s legal inspections and engage in close cooperation with it within the framework of the [standing] regulations,” Rouhani said, addressing a cabinet session in Tehran.
“For us, cooperation with the agency has always formed the basis,” he said, adding, “We will maintain this [principle] today too.”
He said the Islamic Republic has invariably enjoyed a “friendly” relationship with the watchdog, whose inspectors have examined the country’s nuclear facilities regularly and confirmed its non-diversion from a 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers in more than a dozen reports.
The president, however, cautioned that “the agency too should pay attention not to deviate from its legal path.”
He warned that the IAEA risks losing its independence after it adopted a resolution urging access to two sites alleged to have hosted past nuclear activities.
The Vienna-based agency passed the resolution put forward by European states last week, calling on Iran to help clarify whether undeclared nuclear activities took place at the sites in the early 2000s.
Iran says the IAEA's requests for access were based on allegations from its archenemy Israel and had no legal basis.
"The Zionist regime and the Americans are pressuring the agency to investigate something related to 20, 18 years ago. They are deceiving the agency, misleading it," Rouhani said.
"Our expectation is that... the agency should be able to keep its independence," he added.
“I fear these charlatans may tarnish the agency,” Rouhani warned, referring to Israel and the United States. “They dupe the agency and push it away from its course.”
“The agency’s task consists of reporting on the manner of application of nuclear materials. That is what the agency is supposed to do,” the president said.
He, accordingly, urged the IAEA to act justly in its assessments and retain its independence.
Rouhani also slammed the three European parties to the Iran nuclear deal – Britain, France, and Germany – for putting forward the resolution and "sullying themselves for no reason" by cooperating with Israel and the US.
"We did not expect this from the Europeans," he said, while praising China and Russia – also parties to the nuclear deal – for standing against the resolution.
Iran agreed with the five countries plus the US in 2015 to limit its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions, but the deal has been on life support ever since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it and unilaterally reimposed sanctions in 2018.
Tehran has criticized the Europeans for failing to provide it with the economic benefits set out in the accord and has rolled back some of its commitments in retaliation for the US pullout.
US offer of talks ‘insincere’
Rouhani referred to the United States’ new offer of talks with Iran.
In a tweet in early June, Trump repeated Washington’s call for a new deal with Tehran.
Rouhani said Iran would be open to talks with the United States if Washington apologizes for exiting the 2015 nuclear deal and compensates Tehran. He cautioned that US calls for discussions are insincere.
“We have no problem with talks with the US, but only if Washington fulfills its obligations under the nuclear deal, apologies and compensates Tehran for its withdrawal from the 2015 deal,” Rouhani said.
“But we know these calls for talks with Tehran are just words and lies,” he added.
The president pointed that it was Washington that left the negotiation table in the first place by reneging on its commitments.
“They were the ones, who created trouble, broke the negotiation table, and tyrannized the Iranian nation,” Rouhani said.
Press TV, AFP and Reuters contributed to this story.